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Triptorelin (TRI), a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist allowing ovulation synchronization in pigs, is indispensable for fixed-time artificial insemination (FTAI) protocols. However, the effect of FTAI using TRI (FTAI-TRI) on the reproductive performance is controversial. We performed a meta-analysis to determine whether FTAI-TRI affects reproductive performance of pigs, including pregnancy rate (PR), number of pigs born alive per litter (NBA), farrowing rate (FR) and total number of pigs born per litter (TNB). A total of 37 trials from 15 studies were extracted and analysed in Stata. A weighted mean difference (WMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI) was calculated for NBA and TNB, and risk ratio (RR) with 95% CI was calculated for PR and FR. Pregnancy rate, TNB and NBA data were applied to a fixed-effect protocol, and FR data were applied to a random-effect protocol. We found that for weaned sows, the FTAI-TRI group had comparable reproductive performance to the artificial insemination (AI) following oestrus detection (EDAI) group. Fixed-time AI has many advantages, including the elimination of the need to heat-check twice daily, so that FTAI-TRI is a good substitute for EDAI. Subgroup analysis indicated that the optimal timing of triptorelin treatment was 96 h after weaning, which gave significant positive effects on PR (RR = 1.08, P = 0.000) and non-significant positive effects on TNB (WMD = 0.12, P = 0.452). Triptorelin at a dose of 100 μg showed better effects than 200 μg, with significant positive effects on PR (RR = 1.09, P = 0.005) and FR (RR = 1.06, P = 0.036). So a single dose of 100 μg was recommended. The optimal protocol was insemination at 24 h and again at 48 h after triptorelin administration if they remained in standing oestrus, and this provided a significantly higher NBA (WMD = 0.59, P = 0.013) that increased by 0.59. For gilts, the FTAI-TRI group showed decreased (not significant) PR (RR = 0.96, P = 0.127) and significantly decreased FR (RR = 0.93, P = 0.013), TNB (WMD = −0.85, P = 0.006) and NBA (WMD = −0.98, P = 0.000), which were inferior to those in the EDAI group. In conclusion, the effects of FTAI-TRI on the reproductive performance of pigs were parity-, treatment timing-, insemination timing-, and dosage-dependent. Fixed-time AI using triptorelin could effectively replace the EDAI protocol for sows, but not for gilts.
The combined addition of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFAs) and folic acid (FA) could improve growth performance and nutrient utilization by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA and FA addition on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, microbial enzyme activity, microflora and excretion of urinary purine derivatives (PDs) in calves. Thirty-six Chinese Holstein weaned calves (60 ± 5.4 days of age and 107 ± 4.7 kg of BW) were assigned to one of four groups in a randomized block design. Treatments were control (without additives), FA (with 10 mg FA/kg dietary DM), BCVFA (with 5 g BCVFA/kg dietary DM) and the combined addition of FA and BCVFA (10 mg/kg DM of FA and 5 g/kg DM of BCVFA). Supplements were hand-mixed into the top one-third of total mixed ration. Dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 on a DM basis. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect dry matter intake but increased average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion efficiency. Ruminal pH and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect acetate proportion but decreased propionate proportion and increased acetate to propionate ratio. Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter, CP and NDF was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition increased activity of carboxymethyl cellulase and cellobiase, population of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Prevotella ruminicola as well as total PD excretion. Ruminal xylanase, pectinase and protease activity and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens population were increased by BCVFA addition, whereas population of protozoa and methanogens was increased by FA addition. The BCVFA × FA interaction was significant for acetate to propionate ratio, cellobiase activity and total PD excretion, and these variables increased more with FA addition in diet without BCVFA than in diet with BCVFA. The data indicated that supplementation with BCVFA or FA increased ADG, nutrient digestibility, ruminal total VFA concentration and microbial protein synthesis by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity in calves.
Structure and optical properties have been successfully determined for a series of niobium- and tantalum-containing layered alkaline-earth silicate compounds, Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 (x = 0.6, 1.8, 3.0, 4.2, 5.4). The structure of this solid solution was found to be hexagonal P-62m (No. 189), with Z = 1. With x increases from 0.6 to 5.4, the lattice parameter a increases from 8.98804(8) to 9.00565(9) Å and c decreases from 7.83721(10) to 7.75212(12) Å. As a result, the volume decreases from 548.304(11) to 544.479(14) Å3. The (Nb/Ta)O6 distorted octahedra form continuous chains along the c-axis. These (Nb/Ta)O6 chains are in turn linked with the Si2O7 groups to form distorted pentagonal channels in which Ba ions were found. These Ba2+ ions have full occupancy and a 13-fold coordination environment with neighboring oxygen sites. Another salient feature of the structure is the linear Si–O–Si chains. When x in Ba3(Nb6−xTax)Si4O26 increases, the bond valence sum (BVS) values of the Ba sites increase slightly (2.09–2.20), indicating the size of the cage becoming progressively smaller (over-bonding). While SiO cages are also slightly smaller than ideal (BVS range from 4.16 to 4.19), the (Nb/Ta)O6 octahedral cages are slightly larger than ideal (BVS range from 4.87 to 4.90), giving rise to an under-bonding situation. The bandgaps of the solid solution members were measured between 3.39 and 3.59 eV, and the x = 3.0 member was modeled by density functional theory techniques to be 3.07 eV. The bandgaps of these materials indicate that they are potential candidates for ultraviolet photocatalyst.
Quantifying reasonable crop yield gaps and determining potential regions for yield improvement can facilitate regional plant structure adjustment and promote crop production. The current study attempted to evaluate the yield gap in a region at multi-scales through model simulation and farmer investigation. Taking the winter wheat yield gap in the Huang-Huai-Hai farming region (HFR) for the case study, 241 farmers’ fields in four typical high-yield demonstration areas were surveyed to determine the yield limitation index and attainable yield. In addition, the theoretical and realizable yield gap of winter wheat in 386 counties of the HFR was assessed. Results showed that the average field yield of the demonstration plots was 8282 kg/ha, accounting for 0.72 of the potential yield, which represented the highest production in the region. The HFR consists of seven sub-regions designated 2.1–2.7: the largest attainable yield gap existed in the 2.6 sub-region, in the southwest of the HFR, while the smallest was in the 2.2 sub-region, in the northwest of the HFR. With a high irrigated area rate, the yield gap in the 2.2 sub-region could hardly be reduced by increasing irrigation, while a lack of irrigation remained an important limiting factor for narrowing the yield gap in 2.3 sub-region, in the middle of the HFR. Therefore, a multi-scale yield gap evaluation framework integrated with typical field survey and crop model analysis could provide valuable information for narrowing the yield gap.
The effects of pantothenic acid (PA) and folic acid (FA) addition on digestibility coefficient, ruminal fermentation and urinary purine derivative (PD) excretion in dairy bulls were evaluated. Eight rumen-cannulated Holstein dairy bulls were allocated to a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. Diets were supplemented with two levels of FA (0 or 8.0 mg/kg dietary dry matter [DM]) and two of PA (0 or 60 mg/kg DM). The PA × FA interaction was not significant for all variables. Both supplements increased DM intake and average daily gain, but decreased a feed conversion ratio. Digestibility of DM, organic matter, crude protein and neutral detergent fibre increased, but ether extract digestibility was unchanged for both supplements. Digestibility of acid detergent fibre only increased with FA supplementation. For both supplements, ruminal pH and ammonia nitrogen (N) decreased, but total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration increased. Acetate proportion only increased with FA supplementation. Propionate proportion decreased for both supplements. Consequently, the acetate to propionate ratio increased. For both supplements, activity of xylanase and pectinase, population of Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus and total PD excretion increased. Additionally, activity of carboxymethylcellulase, cellobiase, α-amylase and protease, and population of total bacteria, fungi, protozoa, methanogens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and Prevotella ruminicola increased with FA addition. The results suggested that PA and FA supplementation stimulated ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity, resulting in an increased digestibility coefficient and ruminal total VFA concentration in dairy bulls.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Sodium and chloride are the key factors maintaining normal osmotic pressure (OSM) and volume of the extracellular fluid, and influencing the acid–base balance of body fluids. The experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary Na+ and Cl− level on growth performance, excreta moisture, blood biochemical parameters, intestinal Na+–glucose transporter 1 (SGLT1) messenger RNA (mRNA), and Na+–H+ exchanger 2 (NHE2) mRNA, and to estimate the optimal dietary sodium and chlorine level for yellow-feathered chickens from 22 to 42days. A total of 900 22-day-old Lingnan yellow-feathered male chickens were randomly allotted to five treatments, each of which included six replicates of 30 chickens per floor pen. The basal control diet was based on corn and soybean meal (without added NaCl and NaHCO3). Treatments 2 to 5 consisted of the basal diet supplemented with equal weights of Na+ and Cl−, constituting 0.1%, 0.2%, 0.3% and 0.4% of the diets. Supplemental dietary Na+ and Cl− improved the growth performance (P<0.05). Average daily gain (ADG) showed a quadratic broken-line regression to increasing dietary Na+ and Cl− (R2=0.979, P<0.001), and reached a plateau at 0.1%. Supplemental Na+ and Cl− increased (P<0.05) serum Na+ and OSM in serum and showed a quadratic broken-line regression (R2=0.997, P=0.004) at 0.11%. However, supplemental Na+ and Cl− decreased (P<0.05) serum levels of K+, glucose (GLU) and triglyceride. Higher levels of Na+and Cl− decreased duodenal NHE2 transcripts (P<0.05), but had no effect on ileal SGLT1 transcripts. The activity of Na+ /K+-ATPase in the duodenum decreased (P<0.05) with higher levels of dietary Na+ and Cl−. In conclusion, the optimal dietary Na+ and Cl− requirements for yellow-feathered chickens in the grower phase, from 22 to 42 days of age, to optimize ADG, serum Na+, OSM, K+ and GLU were 0.10%, 0.11%, 0.11%,0.17% and 0.16%, respectively, by regression analysis.
The strong-coupling mode, called the “quasimode”, is excited by stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) in high-intensity laser–plasma interactions. Also SBS of the quasimode competes with SBS of the fast mode (or slow mode) in multi-ion species plasmas, thus leading to a low-frequency burst behavior of SBS reflectivity. Competition between the quasimode and the ion-acoustic wave (IAW) is an important saturation mechanism of SBS in high-intensity laser–plasma interactions. These results give a clear explanation of the low-frequency periodic burst behavior of SBS and should be considered as a saturation mechanism of SBS in high-intensity laser–plasma interactions.
A stable reference gene is a key prerequisite for accurate assessment of gene expression. At present, the real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction has been widely used in the analysis of gene expression in a variety of organisms. Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes (Acari: Phytoseiidae) is a major predator of mites on many important economically crops. Until now, however, there are no reports evaluating the stability of reference genes in this species. In view of this, we used GeNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, and RefFinder software tools to evaluate the expression stability of 11 candidate reference genes in developmental stages and under various abiotic stresses. According to our results, β-ACT and Hsp40 were the top two stable reference genes in developmental stages. The Hsp60 and Hsp90 were the most stable reference genes in various acaricides stress. For alterations in temperature, Hsp40 and α-TUB were the most suitable reference genes. About UV stress, EF1α and α-TUB were the best choice, and for the different prey stress, β-ACT and α-TUB were best suited. In normal conditions, the β-ACT and α-TUB were the two of the highest stable reference genes to respond to all kinds of stresses. The current study provided a valuable foundation for the further analysis of gene expression in N. barkeri.
Cultivated pastures in southern China are being used to improve forage productivity and animal performance, but studies on grazing behaviour of goats in these cultivated pastures are still rare. In the current study, the grazing behaviour of Yunling black goats under low (5 goats/ha) and high (15 goats/ha) stocking rates (SRs) was evaluated. Data showed that the proportion of time goats spent on activities was: eating (0.59–0.87), ruminating (0.05–0.35), walking (0.03–0.06) and resting (0.01–0.03). Compared with low SR, goats spent more time eating and walking, and less time ruminating and resting under high SR. Goats had similar diet preferences under both SR and preferred to eat grasses (ryegrass and cocksfoot) more than a legume (white clover). The distribution of eating time on each forage species was more uniform under high v. low SR. Bites/step, bite weight and daily intake were greater under low than high SR. Results suggest that the SR affects grazing behaviour of goats on cultivated pasture, and identifying an optimal SR is critical for increasing bite weight and intake.
Good canopy structure is essential for optimal maize (Zea mays L.) production. However, creating appropriate maize canopy structure can be difficult, because the characteristics of individual plants are altered by changes in plant age, density and interactions with neighbouring plants. The objective of the current study was to find a reliable method for building good maize canopy structure by analysing changes in canopy structure, light distribution and grain yield (GY). A modern maize cultivar (ZhengDan958) was planted at 12 densities ranging from 1.5 to 18 plants/m2 at two field locations in Xinjiang, China. At the silking stage (R1), plant and ear height increased with plant density as well as leaf area index (LAI), whereas leaf area per plant decreased logarithmically. The fraction of light intercepted by the plant (F) increased with increasing plant density, but the light extinction coefficient (K) decreased linearly from 0.61 to 0.39. Taking the optimum value of F (95%) as an example, and using measured values of K for each plant density at R1 and the equation from Beer's law, the corresponding (theoretical) LAI for each plant density was calculated and optimum plant density (9.72 plants/m2) obtained by calculating the difference between theoretical LAIs and actual observations. Further analysis showed that plant density ranging from 10.64 to 11.55 plants/m2 yielded a stable GY range. Therefore, taking into account the persistence time for maximum LAI, the plant density required to obtain an ideal GY maize canopy structure should be increased by 10–18% from 9.72 plants/m2.
The present study evaluated the effects of isovalerate supplementation on the development of the small intestinal mucosa in dairy calves. Forty-eight Chinese Holstein bull calves at 15 days of age and 45.1 ± 0.36 kg of body weight were assigned randomly to four groups. The treatments were control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate and high-isovalerate with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. The study comprised 75 days with a 15-day adaptation period followed by a 60-day sampling period. Calves were weaned at 60 days of age. Six calves were chosen from each treatment at random and slaughtered at 30 and 90 days of age. The small intestine morphology and activities of amylase and trypsin improved significantly with increasing age. No interaction between treatments and age was observed. The small intestine length, mucosa layer thickness, villus height and crypt depth increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation. However, the ratio of villus height to crypt depth was not affected by treatment. Activities of amylase and trypsin increased linearly. The lactase activity increased linearly during the 75-day period and for pre-weaned calves but was unaltered for post-weaned calves. The relative mRNA expressions of growth hormone receptor, insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and sodium-glucose co-transporter-1 in the small intestine mucosa increased linearly, and a similar pattern was observed for the expression of peptide transporter-1 in the duodenum and proximal jejunum. The results suggested that small intestine development was promoted by isovalerate in a dose-dependent manner.
Branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFA) supplements could promote lactation performance and milk quality by improving ruminal fermentation and milk fatty acid synthesis. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA supplementation on milk performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and mRNA expression of genes related to fatty acid synthesis in mammary gland of dairy cows. A total of 36 multiparous Chinese Holstein cows averaging 606±4.7 kg of BW, 65±5.2 day in milk (DIM) with daily milk production of 30.6±0.72 kg were assigned to one of four groups blocked by lactation number, milk yield and DIM. The treatments were control, low-BCVFA (LBCVFA), medium-BCVFA (MBCVFA) and high-BCVFA (HBCVFA) with 0, 30, 60 and 90 g BCVFA per cow per day, respectively. Experimental periods were 105 days with 15 days of adaptation and 90 days of data collection. Dry matter (DM) intake tended to increase, but BW changes were similar among treatments. Yields of actual milk, 4% fat corrected milk, milk fat and true protein linearly increased, but feed conversion ratio (FCR) linearly decreased with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Milk fat content linearly increased, but true protein content tended to increase. Contents of C4:0, C6:0, C8:0, C10:0, C12:0, C14:0 and C15:0 fatty acids in milk fat linearly increased, whereas other fatty acids were not affected with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Ruminal pH, ammonia N concentration and propionate molar proportion linearly decreased, but total VFA production and molar proportions of acetate and butyrate linearly increased with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Consequently, acetate to propionate ratios linearly increased. Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, CP, NDF and ADF also linearly increased. In addition, mRNA expressions of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, sterol regulatory element-binding factor 1 and fatty acid-binding protein 3 linearly increased, mRNA expressions of acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase-α, fatty acid synthase and stearoyl-CoA desaturase quadratically increased. However, lipoprotein lipase mRNA expression was not affected by treatments. The results indicated that lactation performance and milk fat synthesis increased with BCVFA supplementation by improving ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and mRNA expressions of genes related to milk fat synthesis.
Muons produced by the Bethe–Heitler process from laser wakefield accelerated electrons interacting with high
materials have velocities close to the laser wakefield. It is possible to accelerate those muons with laser wakefield directly. Therefore for the first time we propose an all-optical ‘Generator and Booster’ scheme to accelerate the produced muons by another laser wakefield to supply a prompt, compact, low cost and controllable muon source in laser laboratories. The trapping and acceleration of muons are analyzed by one-dimensional analytic model and verified by two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation. It is shown that muons can be trapped in a broad energy range and accelerated to higher energy than that of electrons for longer dephasing length. We further extrapolate the dependence of the maximum acceleration energy of muons with the laser wakefield relativistic factor
and the relevant initial energy
. It is shown that a maximum energy up to 15.2 GeV is promising with
on the existing short pulse laser facilities.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has been shown to be involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced immune responses in many mammal cells. Here, we suggest that the mTOR pathway is involved in the intestinal inflammatory responses evoked by LPS treatment in chicken embryos. The intestinal tissue from Specific pathogen free chick embryos was cultured in the presence of LPS for 2 h. Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytokines, and protein levels of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), mTOR and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) were determined. The results showed that LPS treatment increased sIgA concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. The mRNA levels of interleukine (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 were upregulated by LPS treatment (P<0.05). Lipopolysaccharide increased the phosphorylation of Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAPK and NF-κB (P<0.05) while decreasing the phosphorylation level of mTOR (P<0.05). Supplementation of leucine at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mM dose-dependently decreased sIgA production. Leucine supplementation at 40 mM restored the phosphorylation level of mTOR and p70S6K while suppressing the phosphorylation levels of NF-κB (P<0.05) and partially down-regulating the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and JNK. The transcription of IL-6 was significantly decreased by leucine supplementation. These results suggested that leucine could alleviate LPS-induced inflammatory responses by down-regulating NF-κB signaling pathway and evoking mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway, which may involve in the regulation of the intestinal immune system in chicken embryos.
This study aims to investigate the climate–malaria associations in nine cities selected from malaria high-risk areas in China. Daily reports of malaria cases in Anhui, Henan, and Yunnan Provinces for 2005–2012 were obtained from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Generalized estimating equation models were used to quantify the city-specific climate–malaria associations. Multivariate random-effects meta-regression analyses were used to pool the city-specific effects. An inverted-U-shaped curve relationship was observed between temperatures, average relative humidity, and malaria. A 1 °C increase of maximum temperature (Tmax) resulted in 6·7% (95% CI 4·6–8·8%) to 15·8% (95% CI 14·1–17·4%) increase of malaria, with corresponding lags ranging from 7 to 45 days. For minimum temperature (Tmin), the effect estimates peaked at lag 0 to 40 days, ranging from 5·3% (95% CI 4·4–6·2%) to 17·9% (95% CI 15·6–20·1%). Malaria is more sensitive to Tmin in cool climates and Tmax in warm climates. The duration of lag effect in a cool climate zone is longer than that in a warm climate zone. Lagged effects did not vanish after an epidemic season but waned gradually in the following 2–3 warm seasons. A warming climate may potentially increase the risk of malaria resurgence in China.
The current experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of different dietary protein levels and rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) supplementation on ruminal fermentation, microbial enzyme activity, bacterial populations and urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) in growing beef steers. Low-protein (LP) or high-protein (HP) diets were fed to eight ruminally cannulated first-generation cross-bred (Blonde d'Aquitaine × Simmental) beef steers with or without RPFA supplementation. Steers were fed a total mixed ration, and dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 (dry matter (DM) basis). No interaction between dietary crude protein (CP) levels and RPFA supplementation was observed during the experiment. Ruminal pH was unaffected by RPFA supplementation, but decreased with increasing dietary CP levels. Ruminal total volatile fatty acid concentration increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Molar proportion of acetate increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to decrease with increasing dietary CP levels. The proportion of propionate decreased with RPFA supplementation, but was unaffected by dietary CP levels. As a result, the acetate to propionate ratio increased with RPFA supplementation, but tended to be lower for the HP diets than the LP diets. Ammonia-nitrogen content decreased with RPFA supplementation, but increased with increasing dietary CP levels. In situ ruminal degradability of maize straw and concentrate increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. Microbial enzyme (carboxymethyl-cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase, α-amylase and protease) activity, bacterial populations (Ruminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus) and urinary PD excretion increased with increasing dietary CP levels or RPFA supplementation. The current study showed that increasing dietary CP levels from 109·1 to 130·7 g/kg DM or supplementing 75 mg RPFA improved ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis by increasing bacterial population and microbial enzyme activity.
Isovalerate supplements could stimulate rumen development by improving morphology and function of rumen mucosa, and then promote the growth of calves. This study was done to evaluate the effects of isovalerate supplements on morphology and functional gene expression of rumen mucosa in dairy calves. In total, 48 Chinese Holstein male calves with 15 days of age and 45.1±0.36 kg of BW were randomly assigned to four groups. The treatments were: control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate and high-isovalerate with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. Supplementary isovalerate was hand-mixed into milk in pre-weaning calves and into concentrate portion in post-weaning calves. The study consisted of a 15-day-adaptation period and a 60-day-sampling period. Calves were weaned at 60 days of age. Three calves were slaughtered from each of the four treatments at 30, 60 and 90 days of age. The weight of body and stomach were measured, samples of ruminal tissues and blood were analyzed. Total stomach weight, total stomach to BW ratio, rumen wall and keratinized layer thickness, serum growth hormone and IGF-1 for both pre- and post-weaning calves increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplements. Rumen to total stomach weight ratio, the length and width of rumen papillae, and serum β-hydroxybutyrate increased linearly for post-weaning calves. However, abomasum weight to total stomach weight ratio decreased linearly for both pre- and post-weaning calves. The relative messenger RNA expression for growth hormone receptor, IGF-1 receptor and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase 1 in rumen mucosa increased linearly for post-weaning calves. Our results suggested that isovalerate supplements promoted rumen development in a dose-dependent manner. The optimum dose was 6.0 g isovalerate per calf per day.
The Yellow Sea region is of high global importance for waterbird populations, but recent systematic bird count data enabling identification of the most important sites are relatively sparse for some areas. Surveys of waterbirds at three sites on the coast of southern Jiangsu Province, China, in 2014 and 2015 produced peak counts of international importance for 24 species, including seven globally threatened and six Near Threatened species. The area is of particular global importance for the ‘Critically Endangered’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea (peak count across all three study sites: 62 in spring  and 225 in autumn  and ‘Endangered’ Spotted Greenshank Tringa guttifer (peak count across all three study sites: 210 in spring  and 1,110 in autumn ). The southern Jiangsu coast is therefore currently the most important migratory stopover area in the world, in both spring and autumn, for both species. Several serious and acute threats to waterbirds were recorded at these study sites. Paramount is the threat of large-scale land claim which would completely destroy intertidal mudflats of critical importance to waterbirds. Degradation of intertidal mudflat habitats through the spread of invasive Spartina, and mortality of waterbirds by entrapment in nets or deliberate poisoning are also real and present serious threats here. Collisions with, and displacement by, wind turbines and other structures, and industrial chemical pollution may represent additional potential threats. We recommend the rapid establishment of effective protected areas for waterbirds in the study area, maintaining large areas of open intertidal mudflat, and the urgent removal of all serious threats currently faced by waterbirds here.
Neoseiulus barkeri (HUGHES) is the natural enemy of spider mites, whiteflies and thrips. Screening for chemically-resistant predatory mites is a practical way to balance the contradiction between the pesticide using and biological control. In this study, the number of eggs laid by fenpropathrin-susceptible and resistant strains of N. barkeri was compared. Additionally, we cloned three N. barkeri vitellogenin (Vg) genes and used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to quantify Vg expression in susceptible and resistant strains. The total number of eggs significantly increased in the fenpropathrin-resistant strain. The full-length cDNA cloning of three N. barkeri Vg genes (NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3) revealed that the open reading frames of NbVg1, NbVg2 and NbVg3 were 5571, 5532 and 4728 bp, encoding 1856, 1843 and 1575 amino acids, respectively. The three N. barkeri Vg possessed the Vitellogenin-N domain (or lipoprotein N-terminal domain (LPD_N)), von Willebrand factor type D domain (VWD) and the domain with unknown function 1943 (DUF1943). The NbVg1 and NbVg2 expression levels were significantly higher in the resistant strain than in the susceptible strain, while the NbVg3 expression level was lower in the resistant strain. Thus, we speculate that the increased number of eggs laid by the fenpropathrin-resistant strain of N. barkeri may be a consequence of changes in Vg gene expression.